Titanoboa: The Biggest Snake That Ever Lived

The Titanoboa, of course, is the largest snake to ever exist. It belonged to the family Of Colubridae, which also includes cobras, vipers, and rattlesnakes. There are many species in this family, but there are no other members of this genus.

The same way that the king cobra is the largest snake in Africa, the Titanoboa is the largest snake to have ever lived. In fact, the largest snake that ever existed, according to Guinness Book of World Records, was Pameraspis Thomson.

This species had a head as large as watermelon and weighed 2.7 tons. However, even that would be nothing compared to Titanoboa. In addition to its enormous size, the Titanoboa was also incredibly fast.

Because of its speed, some scientists believe that it is likely that the Titanoboa was a predator of dinosaurs.

The Discovery

The remains of a nearly complete and articulated carcass of Titanoboa were found in the Santa Marta Mountains of the Colombian Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the largest supervolcano on Earth.

While searching for deposits to mine in the 1960s, miner Jaime Jaramillo found the fossil in the Cerrejón mine, which was used to process gold and silver since the 16th century.

According to Scientific American, the miners found a five-foot snake’s head and four feet of tail. It took forty years before anyone could study the fossils, which were of reptile-like reptiles.

Titanoboa: A Contextual Creation Though the fossil was declared a hoax in the 1970s, research of the fossils continued. Fossils from different parts of the snake’s skull were found.

Titanoboa Snake Fossils

The Size

The Titanoboa skull is the largest snake skull ever discovered. It was as long as a male human arm, and almost as tall as a man. How big was it? Titanoboa may have been the largest snake that ever lived.

Its skull was almost 9 m (29 ft) long, and its tail was almost 7 m (24 ft) long. It weighed in at 1,135 kg. Size comparison It would have towered over the largest ever snake that is still alive today.

The reticulated python is around 6 m long and weighs around 4.5 kg. Its body is much thinner than the Titanoboa and probably wouldn’t have been able to crush a dinosaur-like Patagotitan.

The Muscle It is thought that Titanoboa was a slow-moving serpent that would have had to use its powerful muscles to crush its prey.

Titanoboa Size

Titanoboa was a giant boa constrictor

The genus Titanoboa was named in 2015 after fossilized bones of this snake were found in the Cerrejón Formation, and the species was named in reference to the monster in the film King Kong (1976).

Titanoboa was the largest snake that ever lived, named for the size of its jawbones, was as big as a school bus. These snakes measured up to 12.8 meters (41 ft) long and weighed up to 1,135 kg (2,810 lb).

There is some disagreement over the length of the snake, as some sources say it was longer but shorter than other sources say. Fossil evidence indicates that Titanoboa lived in South America during the Early Cretaceous (about 76 to 65 million years ago).

This is one of the largest specimens that is currently known. The jaw bone is known as the jaw of Titanoboa.

What makes Titanoboa so different from other snakes?

Giger originally imagined the snake to be like the Dragonfly from his graphic novel Necronomicon. In his version of the Dragonfly, the body was distinctly snake-like, but with two heads coming out of its neck.

The theory is that the two heads would have been able to communicate and help one another in their hunt. Unfortunately, the artist was never able to fully implement this concept into his illustration.

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In spite of this, Giger later won an award for his work on Titanoboa. Other than looking like a dragonfly with the heads of a snake, Titanoboa didn’t really look all that different from other snakes, which made this resemblance especially uncanny. Titanoboa was about eight times bigger than a similar-sized modern-day boa.

The evolution of Titanoboa

The discovery of these fossils is particularly significant because it demonstrates how advanced the jungle was during the middle Miocene epoch of the Oligocene Epoch (about 23 million years ago) in this region.

Titanoboa must have hunted in the rainforests of what is now La Guajira, Colombia. Its enormous size means it needed substantial prey such as antelopes, other primates, or giant mammals, which are now extinct.

These findings show that the large carnivorous snake was already present before the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period.

The Chicoasas Formation in the Cerrejón Formation is the only place in the world where Titanoboa bones have been found, suggesting that the snake may not only have been large but also migrated between different environments.

How did Titanoboa live and hunt?

Titanoboa was a very fast snake and its main prey were armored arapaimas. They had thick skin and developed poison-filled venom to defend themselves from their predators, such as Tyrannosaurus, the largest dinosaur known to have existed.

Titanoboa swallowed them whole, and despite their armor, this process was extremely painful for the victims, making it unlikely they could escape. Titanoboa and his prey were part of a warm-temperate river system.

Titanoboa’s family was probably very widespread across what is now northern South America. “Titanoboa is considered to be the largest snake that ever lived,” said Luis Sandoval, the leading researcher on the project and a researcher at the National Institute of Natural Sciences of Colombia.

What caused the extinction of Titanoboa?

When the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event occurred 66 million years ago (from the death of the dinosaurs to the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs) Titanoboa became extinct.

The most likely scenario for the extinction is related to a combination of predators (wolves, lions, etc.) and herbivores (many of which became extinct during this period).

Titanoboa likely fed on mollusks and may have faced extinction after predation by such predators. The fossil record indicates that most of the group of large snakes that gave birth to large constrictor-like snakes like Titanoboa are now extinct.

With very few exceptions (for instance, the armored relatives of Titanoboa, called coelacanth), modern snakes are small and poorly preserved, and usually reach much larger sizes than Titanoboa.

Conclusions

So, where do we go from here? Is there anything we can learn about contemporary snakes by studying extinct species? There are some more recent (less than 50 million years) fossil species known to be quite large.

Sadly, the only example we have available is just too small for comparison. Fortunately, we do have a few good candidates to draw from to help us get closer to understanding the largest snakes alive today.

Trapiciouson, found in Australia, is estimated to have been about 6 meters long. While the actual length is unknown, it is likely to have been around this size.

Opetropis, a species of African bush snake, was once thought to have been the largest living snake on record, but as more fossil material has been found it is now thought to have been just the fourth largest.

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